We may think that piety and godliness lies only in our relationship with Allāh سبحانه وتعالى . The Qurʾān and hadith tell us that this is not the case. Allāh سبحانه وتعالى says:

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلآئِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُواْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاء والضَّرَّاء وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

Virtue is not in this that ye turn your faces toward the east and west, but virtue is of him who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the prophets: and giveth of his substance, for love of Him unto kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for redeeming necks, and establisheth prayer and giveth the poor-rate and is of the performers of their covenant when they have covenanted; and is of the patient in adversity and affliction and in time or violence these are they who are proven true, and these they are God-fearing.

[al Baqarah 2/177]

Ritual prayer (salāh) is important and obligatory and it requires that we face the right direction which is what this verse refers to i.e. the Qiblah. However, Allāh mentions so many other things which denote piety and righteousness in this one verse. Allāh mentions that the pious are those who spend for Allāh voluntarily and on their relatives and then mentions salāh. Hence, these voluntarily acts of charity are signs of piety.

Religion is not just prayer, pilgrimage and salah. It is selfish to think of religion as just these things. We can be selfish in religion. When we pray, to some degree we are praying for ourselves. Even when we give in charity, we give with the intention that Allāh will give more to us to that He will forgive us.

[This short excerpt is based on a talk delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 19th January 2018].